FriYAY Friends

FriYAY Friends: An Interview with Paige Meredith Ray


We're going to pull up our stockings and tackle the rest of this Monday hustle by pretending it's Friday here on the blog! I got some interview questions back from an Instagram friend of mine last night, and I just didn't want to wait to share them! I first "met" Paige through her Hear Motherhood podcast shortly after I had Jem. She interviewed other Mama Makers (Including Stacie Bloomfield of Gingiber). She shares down below that making the podcast was a life jacket for her in early motherhood. Well, listening to it was a life jacket to me! Retrospectively, I'm reasonably sure I had some PPD after Jem's birth as well as Ian's, and beginning to listen to podcasts helped me feel connected to Grown-Up Land. Paige and I continue to stay in touch via Instagram, sharing laughs and encouragement. She always makes me smile, and I'm sure she will make you smile, too!

 Paige and her son at a recent event

Paige and her son at a recent event

1) Tell us a little about yourself-- your family, your interests, what ways are you creative, etc.     Hi!! I'm Paige Meredith and I like to describe myself as an artist, a mom, and an occasional podcaster. I've been married for 4 years this month to a man who was the first person to fully support my desire to pursue my creative tendencies. That started when he kept encouraging me to start a blog when we were still dating and that, in turn, became a place where I could follow my creative whims. Knitting, quilting, and food were the first serious forays into adult creativity followed, eventually, by my current passion of painting and drawing all the things.

2) You hosted the Hear Motherhood podcast-- what impact did it have on your creative journey? I have described Hear Motherhood as my postpartum life jacket. In the fog that surrounds new motherhood I was aching for two things: connection and creativity. I specifically remember sitting in the corner of my bedroom in the rocking chair feeling as if the damned (can I cuss?) thing had chains tying me forever to my infant son and the neediness inherent to a newborn.

The metaphorical light at the end of my tunnel was looking around (mostly via social media) and seeing other women who were doing their creative thing while juggling the craziness of life and kids and business and community. I realized I needed to talk to these people to see how they did it and thought that sharing it would be the best way to make that happen.

Here's the funny part: I thought podcasting would be a breeze compared to blogging. No photos to style and shoot. No words to string together. Just a recorded conversation. Easy.

Except it wasn't. Looking back now I realize that I got way in over my head ("I need intro music and fancy sound effects and sponsors!") but because of my perfectionist tendencies didn't even notice. 

The pros say that for every one hour of audio there is four hours of work behind it. As a non-pro I'm not exaggerating to say that it took at least double that time for me to produce every single podcast episode... not counting the mandatory blog posts and social media marketing. 

So there I was with a four, five, six month old and a non-paying full time job that required me to work alone in a dark closet (it makes for great sound) all the times that my son isn't awake or I'm not doing laundry. And looking back on it, it sounds horrible. But at the time, it was a life-saver. Previous to starting the podcast I was in mental and emotional knots with anxiety about my future as a mom and my son's future as a human. The podcast was a productive place to put that unnecessary mental anguish.

By the time, my son turned 9 months old, we had turned a corner. He wasn't an infant any more and I wasn't a brand new mom anymore. I quickly began to realize that I was putting all this time and effort into talking to women who were being creative and I wanted my life to look more like theirs. I wanted to make art with my hands. To do that I realized I would have to give up the thing that was taking up the most of my time, the podcast. And so that's what I did.

3) What inspires your art? You love flowers-- what do flowers say to you? Memories and love inspire my art. My grandmother, who was my creative touchstone throughout my life, died two weeks before my son was born. In the months since she passed, I've come to realize that life is much too short not to paint pretty flowers if that's what I want to do.

4) How is creative community important to your work and how do you find that community? As I mentioned above, creative community is vital. To me, it's less about finding inspiration (though that's always fun) and more about support. The outside confirmation of, "This is working," or "That is gorgeous," or "Thank you for speaking directly to me in your podcast," is priceless. Growing up in a rural area of the South, being a "real artist" wasn't a viable career option so my creative endeavors were never thought of as significant. It's only been since finding a supportive creative community that I've been willing to do things that I never would have had the courage to do otherwise.

5)  What advice do you have for other artists along their journeys?

Piece  of advice #1. If you're going to start a podcast have someone else produce it for you. DIY is not the way to go with sound editing.

Piece of advice #2. Whole wheat goldfish and cold box white wine are the perfect pairing. Sounds crazy, I know, but my inner foodie is grateful for my inner mom for figuring this food combination out.

Piece of advice #3. Laugh. Don't take yourself too seriously. Mostly because it's more fun to be real and just awkward for everyone else if you're not having fun.

Piece of advice #4. Be grateful. This is the one I'm still working on. So often, I get caught up in the day-to-day, stressing about my next deadline or this month's budget. Too often I forget that I am living in the middle of my dream and to cherish it.

Aw, Paige-- thank you! I love watching your journey of motherhood and creativity, and I can't wait to see what else is coming up!

Y'all, all of these GORGEOUS photos are from Paige's Instagram feed. Be sure to follow her so you can enjoy her refreshing paintings and her equally refreshing authenticity. You can also find her on Facebook at Hear Motherhood by Paige Ray. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook as well, and I would love to hear from you! 

I'll be adventuring on Wednesday, but I'll pop in with an update and a few photos. Speaking of, if you want to see more of my adventuring and around town photos, you can follow my personal Instagram @mesaventureshak

Talk to y'all soon! Go make something and send me pictures!



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